When the competition steps up their game, it’s vital for you to match it to retain customers. When you choose the right technology, you immediately optimize your other resources. Here are five examples of how technology can make your employees more productive.

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5 WAYS NEW TECHNOLOGY MAKES WAREHOUSE WORKERS MORE PRODUCTIVE 2Informs | 5 Ways New Technology Makes Warehouse Workers More Productive Today’s warehouse and manufacturing environments need to keep up with growing challenges. For most, the top two business goals are controlling costs by finding ways to do more with less labor hours, and achieving the fastest production and delivery times possible to meet ever-evolving customer expectations. When the competition steps up their game, it’s vital for you to match it to retain customers — ensuring order fulfillment is not only fast but also accurate. Workforce demographics are also changing: Millennial and Gen Z employees have virtually grown up with technology and expect the same ease of use from the technology tools they use at work. A key to meeting these challenges is letting go of outdated technology. By now, most enterprises have realized the benefits of using wireless, handheld mobile devices instead of manual data entry and paper forms. But technology has continued to evolve through the years, and companies that aren’t taking advantage of the latest innovations are missing valuable opportunities to increase productivity. The good news is that when you choose the right technology, you immediately optimize your other resources. Here are five examples of how technology can make your employees more productive: 1 Employees Can Work Faster One way that workers can complete tasks like order picking or inventory checking more quickly is to eliminate wasted motions. For example, a gun-style scanner/mobile computer requires the user to point the device at the barcode to scan it and then tilt the device in order to be able to read the display screen and verify the information. That extra tilt motion may only 3Informs | 5 Ways New Technology Makes Warehouse Workers More Productive take a second or two — but when a typical item pick requires repeating that motion an average of three times, those seconds add up. At a rate of 120 picks per hour during an 8-hour shift, that simple motion can account for at least 3,600 wasted seconds. That equals one whole hour, per worker, per day, that is lost. Current state-of-the-art mobile computer technology offers a more linear design and single-plane user interface that eliminates the necessity to “scan-and- tilt,” recovering those wasted hours and creating a 14% increase in productivity. Another advance that can eliminate wasted motions and help employees work faster is two- dimensional (2D) imaging technology. Traditional 1D laser scanners have to be lined up with the barcode in a specific orientation in order to read it properly. But 2D imagers (which can read both 1D and 2D barcodes) are multidirectional and can read from longer distances as well. Workers won’t have to turn items to orient barcodes or climb ladders to reach items on upper shelves, which can save time during a shift. And unlike 1D scanners, 2D imagers can read barcodes that have been damaged or are covered by plastic wrap, saving additional time when scanning those items. With employees scanning more quickly and efficiently, your operation will be more productive. 2 Employees Can Use New Technology More Easily Providing your employees with devices that are more comfortable to use can also have a big impact on productivity. Today’s innovative mobile computers have touchscreen, graphical interfaces instead of the traditional legacy “green screen” and push-button keyboard combinations. The newer displays are more like those found on smartphones and consumer tablets that your employees are accustomed to using. According to the Pew Research Center, 77% of U.S. adults (and 92% of 18- to 29-year-olds) now own smartphones. They are familiar with graphical touch interfaces and prefer to use them on work devices as well as 4Informs | 5 Ways New Technology Makes Warehouse Workers More Productive their personal ones.1 With devices that your workforce feels comfortable using, you will also find new employees require less training on their devices, saving time and money. In addition to solutions that use touchscreen interfaces, there is also technology that enables you to transform your green screens into touch-based interfaces. Products such as Zebra’s All-Touch Terminal Emulation (TE) can convert your legacy green screen application into a graphical, touchscreen user interface with no coding or host application modification required. This transformation simplifies processes and allows tasks to be completed with fewer clicks, keystrokes, and screens to navigate, which saves valuable time. Seasoned employees can work faster and pick better with a more intuitive interface and new employees can learn your team’s processes more quickly. When evaluating a handheld computer’s ease of use, also consider the design of the device itself. The industry’s most advanced mobile computers are up to 33% lighter than traditional models, reducing worker fatigue. They are even designed to be used with gloved hands. Eliminating the tilt motion during scanning also reduces muscle effort by 15% and wrist motion by 55% — which decreases the risk of repetitive- motion strain or injury that could sideline your employees. 1Pew Research Center, “10 facts about smartphones as the iPhone turns 10,” June 28, 2017. BEFORE AFTER 5Informs | 5 Ways New Technology Makes Warehouse Workers More Productive 3 Employees Make Fewer Mistakes Advanced handheld computer technology features such as intuitive touchscreen interfaces, enterprise scanning functionality, and ergonomic design all contribute to a higher degree of accuracy. All-touch keyboards are customizable for greater usability, and they can allow workers to type up to 40% faster than push-button keypads — with up to 60% fewer errors. Using 2D imaging technology also improves accuracy. The ability to scan any barcode, from any orientation, even partially obscured or damaged ones, leads to fewer mistakes in picking and shipping. A 2D imager can also read direct part marks and can provide superior track and trace accuracy throughout the manufacturing process. Upgrading your handheld computers can also provide you with new capabilities that further reduce errors, such as voice-enabled applications. Warehouse picking procedures, for example, can be done faster and more accurately with voice direction. Improved accuracy throughout every stage of manufacturing and distribution ultimately means fewer mistakes, less waste, more profits, and better customer relationships. It also means greater productivity: The right item is in the right place at the right time, and workers aren’t spending time correcting errors. 6Informs | 5 Ways New Technology Makes Warehouse Workers More Productive 4 Employees Don’t Lose Time to Device Downtime Workers who rely on handheld computers to do their jobs will be less efficient if those devices are constantly failing. Aging or outdated hardware can experience a variety of issues that result in downtime: • Loss of connectivity unrelated to the wireless network • Batteries that no longer hold a charge or last through an entire shift • Software glitches • Slow processing speeds or responsiveness These issues can cause frustration not only for floor workers but for the IT staff responsible for dealing with the equipment. Upgrading your technology can eliminate these problems and can provide new functionality to keep workers productive. And new hardware can be easier to implement than you think. For example, Zebra’s TC8000 mobile computer comes with All-Touch Terminal Emulation and Workforce Connect Push-to-Talk preinstalled and ready to go. IT personnel will spend less time staging and deploying new devices like these — and they will also save the time they are spending keeping out-of-date technology functional — improving productivity in that department as well. 5 New Tech Will Force You to Re-evaluate Your Workflow Another benefit of upgrading to new technology is that it requires examining the workflow of your operation to identify areas where productivity needs to improve. Such an analysis can help you find the right solution to provide maximum benefit to your processes, but it also may shed light on aspects of your operation that need to change. Your technology provider partner is a great resource for helping you identify and diagnose pain points and recommend devices that will ensure your operations are as efficient as possible. You and your provider can also look for new functions you can add to gain extra benefits, such as voice-directed picking or voice data entry. A careful evaluation of your workflow can also help you to spot hidden productivity drains, such as the “scan-and-tilt” motion, and eliminate them. 7Informs | 5 Ways New Technology Makes Warehouse Workers More Productive Holding on to old technology for too long can impede the productivity of your workforce, which can decrease revenue and give you a disadvantage among your competitors. If you could save an hour per worker, per day, how many more orders could you fill? When you reduce errors and waste — of time, resources, and energy — how much will your business grow? Implementing upgraded solutions with the features, ease of use, and power you need will more than pay for themselves and streamline processes, increase customer and employee satisfaction, and improve throughput volume, speed, and accuracy in the process. It’s Time for Change Informs, Inc. At Informs, everything revolves around the customer. We are part of your team, providing insightful consulting and superior, cutting-edge solutions for data collection, management and tracking—all uniquely tailored for you. We work with the top manufacturers to offer scanners, handheld mobile computers, and printer and labeling solutions that fit your business needs. Our experienced team is available to review your facility and processes, identify issues, and offer significant options to help you improve efficiency. Contact us at www.informsinc.com. Zebra Technologies Zebra builds tracking technology and solutions that generate actionable information and insight, giving companies unprecedented visibility into their businesses by giving physical things a digital voice. Zebra’s extensive portfolio of solutions give real-time visibility into everything from products and physical assets to people, providing very precise operational data not only about where things are, but what condition they are in. This allows business leaders to use data to make better, more informed decisions, respond in real-time and ultimately, help businesses understand how they work, and how they could work better.